Parkite engages ’Bride of Careful-ish’ to wrap up satirical novel trilogy
A literary journey that started during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has come to an end for author, podcaster and part-time Parkite Honey Parker.
Parker, who co-hosts the “CoupleCo: Working With Your Spouse for Fun & Profit” podcast with her husband Blaine, has published “Bride of Careful-ish: And They All Lived Careful-ishly After Ever… or Not,” the third installment of her satirical and humorous “Careful-ish” trilogy.
“Bride of Careful-ish” continues the story of six 20-something characters who were introduced in Parker’s 2020 novel “Careful-ish: A Ridiculous Romp Through COVID Living As Seen Through the Eyes of Ridiculous People” and her 2021 follow-up, “Daughter of Careful-ish: What Have We Learned? Nothing!”
The characters — an African-American financial officer, his white, punk-rock roommate, a Chinese-American floral designer, a Jewish news reporter, a post-hippie hair stylist and a golden boy from the United Arab Emirates — are based on Parker’s friends and have known each other since high school.
They have survived the initial pandemic lockdown, caring for parents, dating, jobs and maintaining their weekly video-chat drinking get-togethers.
“When I was writing the first book, I began thinking about the second and third books,” Parker said. “I knew there needed to be some kind of major event that happens to one of them that affects everyone else.”
Throughout the first two books, there was this underlying threat of marriage that would involve one of the characters who was commitment phobic, Parker said.
“She has that horrible wedding angst that I’m all too familiar with, so I knew we had to address whether or not this was or wasn’t going to happen in the last book,” she said. “And by doing so, I gave her all my angst.”
Parker began writing her first “Careful-Ish” book during the first days of COVID-19 back in 2020.
“My mom had passed, and we were realizing that we would be locked in for more than two weeks, so my world was upside down,” she said.
As Parker was writing the second or third chapter of the first book, her husband said she needed to write a trilogy.
“I said, ‘OK,’ and that pretty much sums up the amount of thought I had put into deciding that I was going to write three books instead of one,” she said with a laugh.
By deciding to write a trinity of books, Parker changed her approach to the stories.
“I knew the books had to stand in and of themselves individually, but I also knew there had to be a giant arc over this whole thing,” she said. “So it took more mental math to figure things out. It became happily-ever-after until I ruined their lives again in the next book and the next book after that.”
There were times during the writing of the third book when Parker literally let the characters take the lead.
“While I knew what the plot points were in general, I would just allow these people to stand up and do what they do,” she said. “By doing so, I think the challenge was making sure I continued to reveal more of their characteristics to keep things fresh. I knew that each character had their own journey, but I needed them to solve their different problems in ways that were unique to who they were. It was awesome and exhausting.”
Parker’s exhaustion partially stemmed from the pressure she felt while writing “Bride of Careful-ish.”
“I felt no pressure with the first book, because no one expected anything,” she said. “I was just sitting at the bottom of the ski resort writing a book.”
Parker also really didn’t feel that much pressure writing the follow-up, “Daughter of Careful-ish.”
“Since I had written the first book, I felt the writing was better in the second book,” she said. “I found myself more in a groove. But when I got to the third book, I didn’t want to drop the ball.”
To keep herself on track, Parker had to continually step away from the writing to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on herself.
“That was hard because of the way I was raised,” she said with a chuckle.
Parker is happy she powered through because she feels good having the trilogy under her belt.
“The first time I physically held up all three books that represented the manifestation of this journey I had been on was surreal,” she said.
However, “Bride of Careful-ish” doesn’t really shut the book on these characters’ lives, Parker confessed.
“It wasn’t until last year that I realized that I wasn’t going to cross all the Ts, and that everything was going to be fine here on out,” she said. “That’s just not life, because so many nutty things can happen.”
While she has moved on to writing a new series and creating new characters, Parker has heard from readers who are looking forward to the next installment in the “Careful-ish” world.
“I’ve played with the idea of going back to write a prequel, because all of these characters have known each other since high school,” she said. “I’ve also tossed around the idea of writing a side novel that focuses on one of the characters, or I could be lazy and write a fourth book. But I don’t know if I’m going to dive back into the pool. So, I’m taking a break and writing a new series.”
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